Babbler # 2878
posted 14 November 2003 04:17 PM
Why Chickenhawks Matter
uring the run-up to the Iraq war, it was impossible not to notice that those most gung-ho for the adventure were, by and large, virgins when it came to the actual battlefield. George W. ("I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes") Bush; Dick ("I had other priorities") Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Tom DeLay, Elliott Abrams--to a man, all found better things to do than join the armed forces during Vietnam, a war most of them supported.
During the war debate, this issue was confused by the casual tossing of the epithet "chickenhawk." This discussion was actually promoted by the war party itself--together with its punditocracy cheerleaders--as it allowed its members to wrap themselves in the flag of free speech. It also appealed to the media, few of whose denizens had seen the inside of a military uniform either. But the point was not--or should not have been--to question the right of those who never served in the military to make military policy, which, after all, is intelligently enshrined in the Constitution. Rather it was a matter of judgment: Knowing nothing of war from firsthand experience, these men (and women) were more likely to have a romantic view of what war could accomplish.
The results of this foolish faith are all around us. While Bush prefers to avoid the many unpleasant aspects of the war--allowing no photographing of returning coffins and attending no funerals of fallen soldiers--he waxes rhapsodic about the alleged democratic benefits the Arab world will one day reap from this botched operation. Meanwhile, as Don Van Natta Jr. and Desmond Butler reported in the New York Times, "Across Europe and the Middle East, young militant Muslim men are answering a call issued by Osama bin Laden and other extremists, and leaving home to join the fight against the American-led occupation in Iraq." The net result, according to Uri Dromi, director of International Outreach at the Israel Democracy Institute in Jerusalem, is that Iraq appears to be turning into America's "Lebanon." In that conflict, in which Israel attempted to address a political problem with blunt force, it succeeded only in bleeding itself dry, creating more hatred and hence more terrorism, and ultimately decreasing the security of its citizens before leaving in ignominy and humiliation.
From: Toronto | Registered: Jul 2002
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